Committee Cliff Notes: Weekly Recap – Week of September 11, 2023
Washington, September 15, 2023
Here’s a recap of key moments from House Republican committees during the week:
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies held an oversight hearing called "Department of Veterans Affairs Implementation of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Initiative." Senior leaders from the Department and Oracle joined the Subcommittee to discuss the status of the VA’s implementation plans for the electronic health record system. A modern system that fully integrates the VA, Defense Department, and community providers is a fundamental part of fulfilling our promise to provide reliable, high-quality health care for our nation’s veterans.
On Wednesday, September 13, the House Armed Services Committee’s Quality of Life Panel, led by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), held a roundtable with military spouses to discuss the quality of life issues they face, including spouse employment and support programs, child care, compensation, housing, and access to health care.
Education and Workforce
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing called "The Impact of Biden's Open Border on the American Workforce." Committee Republicans used the hearing to give the American workforce a voice by holding Democrats accountable for their disastrous open border policies. Real wages for the working class have collapsed, thanks to the policies of the Biden administration. Democrat immigration policies are putting Americans last.
On Thursday, September 14, the Committee on Education and Workforce held a full committee markup on the following legislation:
Energy and Commerce
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid held a hearing called "Keeping the Lights On: Enhancing Reliability and Efficiency to Power American Homes." Members spoke with two panels of witnesses about the importance of maintaining grid reliability and how the Biden administration has changed efficiency standards to target common household appliances.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing called "Making the Grade?: Audit of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program." Members examined the Biden administration’s billion-dollar electric school bus giveaway, a part of their rush-to-green agenda. As Chair Rodgers said in her opening remarks, "the EPA appears to be favoring unreliable and expensive electric school buses over clean school buses. We're talking two to three times the cost. The federal government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers."
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing called "Lights, Camera, Subscriptions: State of the Video Marketplace." Over the last decade, the video marketplace has undergone a transformative shift as more media content moves online. As Chair Rodgers and Subcommittee Chair Latta said, this hearing focused on “the evolution of this market, the steps Congress can take to ensure outdated regulations do not hinder innovation and competition, as well as how to bring the traditional marketplace into the 21st century.”
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Health held a legislative hearing called "Legislative Proposals to Prevent and Respond to Generic Drug Shortages." The subcommittee focused on preventing and responding to the ongoing drug shortage by addressing the underlying economic problems in the market.
On Wednesday, September 13, the House Financial Services Committee, led by Chairman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), held a full committee hearing to conduct oversight of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and examine other efforts to strengthen America’s national security. Lawmakers held CFIUS accountable to its dual mandate of addressing national security risks in foreign investments and maintaining the United States’ commitment to an open investment climate while pushing back on Biden’s recent outbound investment Executive Order.
On Wednesday, September 13, all Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee—led by Chairman Patrick McHenry (NC-10)—sent a letter to Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision (Fed) Michael Barr, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg, and Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu slamming Biden’s banking regulators for their politically motivated Basel III Endgame proposal. Committee Republicans demanded that the regulators withdraw their misguided, politically motivated proposal due to its flawed scope, depth, motivation, and process and absence of sound rationale or economic analysis.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy, led by Chairman Andy Barr (KY-06), held a hearing entitled “Implementing Basel III: What’s the Fed’s Endgame?” Committee Republicans questioned witnesses regarding Federal banking regulators’ underdeveloped, misleadingly motivated, and utterly partisan Basel III Endgame proposal.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion, led by Chairman French Hill (AR-02), held a hearing called "Digital Dollar Dilemma: The Implications of a Central Bank Digital Currency and Private Sector Alternatives." Lawmakers examined what central bank digital currencies are, the concept of digital money, and how design choices would impact areas like consumer privacy, banks of all sizes, and monetary policy.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia held a hearing called "Iran’s Escalating Threats: Assessing U.S. Policy Toward Iran’s Malign Activities." As the Biden administration pursues a $6 billion dollar hostage deal with Iran, and potentially a nuclear “understanding” with Tehran, subcommittee members were given the opportunity to hear expert testimony on the threat posed by Iran’s police of hostage taking, sponsorship of terrorism proxies, and nuclear escalation. This subcommittee hearing coincides with the anniversary of the tragic murder of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s so-called morality police, which sparked nationwide protests in towns and cities across Iran.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations held a hearing called "Children are not for Sale – Global Efforts to Address Child Trafficking." This subcommittee hearing focused on the challenges in combating child trafficking, children’s vulnerability to it and the impact it has on their futures. The members questioned witnesses on what more the Biden administration and Congress can do to ramp up efforts – children unreservedly require our protection from abuse and violence at home and abroad.
On Tuesday, September 12, the Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology held a hearing called "Evolving Threats: Security and Safety in a Post-9/11 World” to examine our nation’s evolving threat landscape over two decades after the September 11th terrorist attacks and advancements in emergency preparedness in its wake. Members visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum for the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attack to reflect on the thousands of lives lost, thank first responders, and continue their commitment to preventing another unthinkable attack on our homeland.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Committee on Homeland Security held a full committee hearing called “An Unbearable Price: The Devastating Human Costs of the Biden-Mayorkas Border Crisis.” The Committee continued its investigation into President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas’ culpability for the humanitarian crisis at the Southwest border. Members heard from witnesses including a Border Patrol wife, a child trafficking expert, and an Alaskan mother who lost her son to fentanyl poisoning.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance held a hearing called "Children are Not for Sale: Examining the Threat of Exploitation of Children in the U.S. and Abroad" to examine the rise of CSAM within the United States, the horrors of child sex trafficking, and how social media companies are perpetuating the problem.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement held a hearing called "Terrorist Entry Through the Southwest Border" to examine the national security implications of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) open-borders agenda, including how the Biden Administration's policies have led to record-high encounters of aliens on the Terrorist Watchlist as well as the mass release of unvetted aliens into U.S. communities.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing titled “Examining the Methodology and Structure of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Critical Minerals List.” There have been notable changes made to the USGS critical minerals list including uranium and other minerals. This hearing included questions and conversations around changes made under the Biden administration and potential additions to the list.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing titled "Examining Systemic Government Overreach at CEQ." Throughout the year, the Committee has tried to investigate and learn more about the practices of the Council on Environmental Quality. Recently, CEQ announced new NEPA processes that disregard key components of the reforms passed this year. Members of the Subcommittee wanted to learn more about this decision, but Chair Brenda Mallory declined to testify and did not send anyone in her place.
Oversight and Accountability
On Wednesday, September 13, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a full committee hearing called “Unsuitable Litigation: Oversight of Third-Party Litigation Funding.” At the hearing, members and witnesses highlighted how left-wing activists are funding litigation in an effort to hijack America’s legal system to influence policy decisions, determine outcomes, and cement a progressive agenda. Witnesses noted that these liberal funded lawsuits are currently impacting the mining of critical minerals, development of new medications, energy production, and other key American industries. Too often these lawsuits delay critical projects and fail to prioritize Americans’ interests and members stressed that Congress must work to identify ways to improve transparency in litigation funding and ensure fairness in the legal system.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs held a hearing called “A Dangerous Strategy: Examining the Biden Administration’s Failures on Iran.” Members discussed with subject matter experts how the Biden Administration has participated without transparency in unlawful negotiations with Iran, facilitated a ransom payment to Iran to free five Americans, and provided no explanation for the removal of a top special envoy. Members also discussed how the Biden Administration’s reversal of the “maximum pressure” strategy has allowed Iran to skirt sanctions, supply U.S. adversaries like China and Russia with oil and weapons, and decrease stability in the Middle East.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce held a hearing called “Oversight of Federal Agencies’ Post-Pandemic Telework Policies.” The hearing examined the Biden Administration’s post-pandemic telework and remote work policies for federal employees.
On Thursday, September 14, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a hearing called “Oh Doctor, Where Art Thou? Pandemic Erosion of the Doctor-Patient Relationship.” Members evaluated the harmful effects of the Biden Administration’s mandates that usurped the doctor-patient relationship and wreaked havoc on the American healthcare system. Members highlighted the importance of maintaining physician autonomy during times of crisis, including future pandemics.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation held a hearing called “How are Federal Agencies Harnessing Artificial Intelligence?” The hearing examined whether federal agencies are ready to harness the powerful benefits of AI to transform government operations and explored how agencies are using AI now and the future use cases they envision. Potential risks in federal agency adoption of AI were discussed, along with the adequacy of safeguards being put in place to protect individual privacy and ensure the fair and equal treatment of all citizens by their government.
On Thursday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services held a hearing called “The Inflation Reduction Act: A Year in Review.” The hearing examined the impacts of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on the economy, American taxpayers, and small businesses. The IRA hiked taxes on businesses, mandated price controls on drugs, devoted $80 billion to hire 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, and earmarked $300 billion to advance the Democrats’ climate agenda.
This week, the House Rules Committee met to discuss measures to fund our national defense (H.R. 4365) and ensure Americans have continued access to gas-powered vehicles (H.R. 1435). Following the meeting, debate on the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act was advanced to the floor. Rules Vice Chair Michael Burgess and members highlighted the Republican commitment to blocking radical, Green New Deal emissions standards proposed by far left officials. They rallied against Democrat efforts to effectively ban internal combustion engine cars and take away the freedom of Americans to choose what type of vehicle they want to drive. As they further noted, H.R. 1435 is focused on securing consumer choice, keeping mobility options for people across the nation affordable and reliable, and making certain that our adversary—China—doesn’t have a stranglehold on our auto industry.
Science, Space, and Technology
On Thursday, September 14, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a full committee hearing called "An Update on the Department of Energy’s Science and Technology Priorities." The sole witness for the hearing was U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. At the hearing, Science Committee members examined the DOE’s goals and priorities for its civilian research, development, demonstration, and commercial application programs and asked questions about DOE’s role in meeting national challenges. As the Department has received an influx of funding over the past few years from the IIJA and the IRA, Members are keen to ensure taxpayer dollars are being appropriately and efficiently spent.
Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party
On Tuesday, September 12, the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party held a field hearing in New York City called "Systemic Risk: The Chinese Communist Party’s Threat to U.S. Financial Stability." The Select Committee was joined by witnesses Jay Clayton, Former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Anne Stevenson-Yang, Founder of J Capital Research, and received written testimony from Jim Chanos, President and Founder of Kynikos Associates.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party hosted a roundtable discussion with experts at an event titled, "The Chinese Communist Party's Propaganda and Censorship". The Select Committee was joined by witnesses Ms. Sarah Cook, Senior Advisor for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan at Freedom House, Dr. Matthew Johnson, Research Director at Garnaut Global, and Ms. Bay Fang, President, Radio Free Asia.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access held a hearing called "Enabling Success: Examining the Competitive Landscape for Small Businesses." At the hearing, members highlighted the challenges small businesses face when they want to expand including their ability to access credit and the impacts of the Basel III Endgame proposal.
On Thursday, September 14, the Committee on Small Business held a full committee markup of five pieces of legislation focused on supporting small businesses and helping to hold those who defrauded the government accountable. The following legislation was marked up:
Transportation and Infrastructure
On Wednesday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing called "The Future of Automated Commercial Motor Vehicles: Impacts on Society, the Supply Chain, and U.S. Economic Leadership." Chairman Rick Crawford led the Subcommittee in a productive back-and-forth with trucking industry representatives about the future of automated commercial motor vehicles in America and how we can work to improve safety on our nation’s roads and foster innovation and efficiency in the supply chain.
On Thursday, September 14, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a full committee oversight hearing titled “VA Electronic Health Record Modernization: Get Well Soon?” The Committee examined the VA electronic health record modernization program’s progress since Secretary McDonough announced its reset in April. Executives from the VA medical centers where the Oracle Cerner system is in use and the acting executive director of the program testified. Committee members questioned the VA witnesses about the system’s impact on their facilities’ patient volumes, safety, budgets, and employee morale as well as prospects to improve the system. The VA witnesses explained that while modest progress has been made, the system is still plagued with problems and continues to disrupt the delivery of care. Chairman Bost reiterated that the system should not be implemented anywhere else until it has shown wholesale improvement in the current medical centers. Chairman Bost and Ranking Member Takano also provided an update on bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2809, the EHR RESET Act to address the situation.